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Out of 159 persons only eight
officers and thirty-six men returned unhurt. The whole of the
remainder, including twenty officers, were killed, wounded, or
missing.

LANDING OF THE SECOND ARMY

On the very night after the accomplishment of this third blocking
operation, a second Japanese army commenced to land at Pitszewo,
eastward of the Liaotung peninsula. This was precisely the point
chosen for a similar purpose by the Japanese in the war with China,
ten years previously, and such close adherence to the former
programme was condemned by some critics, especially as transports
cannot get close to the shore at Pitszewo, but have to lie four miles
distant, the intervening space consisting, for the most part, of mud
flats. But the Japanese were perfectly familiar with every inch of
the coast from the mouth of the Yalu to Port Arthur, and had the
Russian commanders possessed equally accurate knowledge, they would
have recognized that Pitszewo was designated by natural features as
the best available landing-place, and knowing that, they might have
made effective dispositions to oppose the Japanese there, whereas ten
thousand men had been put on shore before any suspicion seems to have
been roused in the Russian camp.

BATTLE OF KINCHOU

After its landing at Pitszewo, on May 5th and the following days, the
Second Japanese Army, consisting of three divisions under General
(afterwards Count) Oku, pushed westward, driving away the Russian
detachments in the vicinity and securing the control of the Port
Arthur railway. Then, at Kinchou, on the 26th of May, a great battle
was fought. A little south of Kinchou lies a narrow neck of land
connecting the Kwangtung promontory with the mainland. It is a neck
only a mile and three-quarters broad, having Kinchou Bay on the
northwest and Hand Bay on the southeast. On each side the ground near
the sea is low, but along the centre of the neck a ridge rises, which
culminates in a point about 350 feet above the sea. This point is
known as Nanshan, and its commanding position is such that an army
holding it blocks all access to the Kwangtung peninsula.

The problem for the Japanese was to obtain possession of this neck as
the sole road of access to Port Arthur; while General Stossel, who
commanded the Russian troops, knew that if the neck fell into
Japanese hands, Port Arthur would become unapproachable by land. "The
Nanshan position offered unusual advantages for defence, and had been
diligently prepared for permanent occupation during many weeks. Ten
forts of semi-permanent character had been built, and their armament
showed that, on this occasion, the Russian artillery was vastly
superior, both in calibre and in range, to the Japanese guns. Forts,
trenches, and rifle-pits, covered by mines and wire entanglements,
were constructed on every point of vantage and in separate tiers.
Searchlights were also employed, and every advantage was taken of the
proximity of a great fortress and its ample plant."*

*The War in the Far East, by the Military Correspondent of "The
Times."

It will occur to the reader that war-vessels might have been
advantageously used for the attack and defence of such a position,
and, as a matter of fact, Russian gunboats manoeuvred in Hand Bay on
the southeastern shore of the neck. But, on the western side, the
shoal waters of Kinchou Bay prevented access by Japanese vessels in
the face of the heavy batteries erected by the Russians on dominating
sites. This splendid position was held by a Russian army mustering
ten thousand strong with fifty siege-guns and sixteen quick-firers. A
frontal attack seemed suicidal but was deliberately chosen. At
daybreak the battle commenced, and, after sixteen hours of incessant
fighting, a Japanese infantry force turned the left flank of the
Russian line and the day was won. Over seven hundred Russian dead
were buried by the Japanese, and into the latter's hands fell
sixty-eight cannon of all calibres with ten machine-guns. The
Japanese casualties totalled 4912.

This battle finally solved the problem as to whether Japanese
infantry could hold its own against Russian. "With almost everything
in its favour, a strong, fresh, and confident Russian army, solidly
entrenched behind almost inaccessible fortifications and supported by
a formidable and superior artillery, was, in a single day, fairly
swept out of its trenches."* The victorious Japanese pressed forward
rapidly, and on the 30th of May obtained possession of Dalny, a base
presenting incalculable advantages for the prosecution of an attack
upon Port Arthur, which fortress it was now evident that the Japanese
had determined to capture.

*The War in the Far East, by the Military Correspondent of "The
Times."

THE BATTLE OF TELISSU

To have left the Japanese in undisturbed possession of the neck of
the Liaotung peninsula would have been to abandon Port Arthur to its
fate. On the other hand, the Russians ought not to have entertained
any hope of their own ability to carry such a position by assault
after they had signally failed to hold it in the face of attack.
Nevertheless, finding it intolerable, alike to their prestige and to
their sense of camaraderie, to take no measure in behalf of the great
fortress and its thirty thousand defenders, they determined to march
at once to its assistance. To that end celerity was all important,
and on June 14th, that is to say, only eighteen days after the battle
of Kinchou, a Russian army of some thirty-five thousand combatants,
under the command of General Baron Stackelberg, moving down the
railway to recover Kinchou and Nanshan, came into collision with the
Japanese and fought the battle of Telissu. The Russian general,
clinging always to the railway, advanced with such a restricted front
that the Japanese, under General Oku, outflanked him, and he was
driven back with a loss of about ten thousand, killed and wounded,
fourteen guns, and four hundred prisoners.

NAVAL INCIDENTS

On June 15th, the very day after the Telissu victory, the Japanese
met their only naval catastrophe. While their fleet was watching the
enemy off Port Arthur, the battleships Hatsuse and Yashima struck
mines and sank immediately. Moreover, on the same day, the cruisers
Kasuga and Yoshino collided in a dense fog, and the latter vessel was
sent to the bottom. As the Japanese possessed only six battle-ships,
the loss of two was a serious blow, and might have emboldened the
Russians to despatch a squadron from the Baltic to take the earliest
possible advantage of this incident. Foreseeing this, the Japanese
took care to conceal the loss of the Hatsuse and Yashima, and the
fact did not become known until after the battle of Tsushima, a year
later, when the Russian fleet had been practically annihilated.

Meanwhile, the Russian squadron at Vladivostok had accomplished
little. This squadron consisted originally of three armoured
cruisers, Gromovoi, Rossia, and Rurik, with one protected cruiser,
Bogatyr. But the last-named ship ran on a rock near Vladivostok and
became a total wreck in the middle of May, a month marked by many
heavy losses. These cruisers made several excursions into the Sea of
Japan, sinking or capturing a few Japanese merchantmen, and cleverly
evading a Japanese squadron under Admiral Kamimura, detailed to watch
them. But their only achievement of practical importance was the
destruction of two large Japanese transports, the Hitachi Maru and
the Sado Maru. In achieving this feat the Russians appeared off
Tsushima in the Straits of Korea, on June 15th, and the transports
which they sunk or disabled carried heavy guns for the bombardment of
Port Arthur.

Of course, nothing was publicly known about the cargo of the Hitachi
and her consort, but there could be no question that, in timing their
attack with such remarkable accuracy, the Russians must have obtained
secret information as to the movements of the transports and the
nature of their cargo. Considerable criticism was uttered against
Admiral Kamimura for failure to get into touch with the Vladivostok
vessels during such a long interval. But much of the censure was
superficial. Kamimura redeemed his reputation on the 14th of August
when, in a running fight between Fusan and Vladivostok, the Rurik was
sunk and the Gromovoi and Rossia were so seriously damaged as to be
unable to take any further part in the war. On this occasion six
hundred Russians were rescued by the Japanese from the sinking Rurik,
and it was noted at the time that the Russians had made no attempt to
save Japanese life at the sinking of the Hitachi Maru.

THE JAPANESE FORCES

Immediately after the landing of the army corps under General Oku and
the capture of Dalny in the sequel of the battle of Kinchou, the
Japanese began to pour troops into Dalny, and soon they had there
three divisions under the command of General (afterwards Count) Nogi.
This force was henceforth known as the Third Army, that of General
Kuroki being the First, and that under General Oku, the Second. The
next operation was to land another army at Takushan, which lies on
the south coast of Manchuria, between Pitszewo and the estuary of the
Yalu. This army was under the command of General (afterwards Count)
Nozu, and its purpose was to fill the gap between the First Army and
the Second. Nozu's corps thus became the Fourth Army. In fact, the
Japanese repeated, in every respect, the plan of campaign pursued by
them ten years previously in the war with China.

There was one ultimate difference, however. In the latter war, the
force which captured Port Arthur was subsequently carried oversea to
the Shantung province, where it assaulted and took the great Chinese
naval port at Weihaiwei. But the army sent against Port Arthur, in
1904, was intended to march up the Liaotung peninsula after the
capture of the fortress, so, as to fall into line with the other
three armies and to manoeuvre on their left flank during the general
advance northward. Thus considered, the plan of campaign suggests
that General Nogi and his three divisions were expected to capture
Port Arthur without much delay, and indeed their early operations
against the fortress were conducted on that hypothesis.



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